FIRST TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY:
BULLDOGS stop Central run, win 2016 trip to state tourney!
Pikeville, Ky. — One team one dream has been the motto all year for the Bulldogs of Lawrence Co. ( 29-4 ) and that dream was realized in front of 5,143 fans in a 75-64 victory over four time consecutive 15th region champion Johnson Central ( 20-13 ) on Tuesday night at the Pikeville Expo Center.
With the win the Dawgs will be playing in Rupp arena next Thursday in the KHSSA Sweet Sixteen for the first time in school history. Lawrence Co. will play 6th Region Champion Louisville Doss ( 27-5 ) Thursday March 17th at noon in Rupp Arena.
Lawrence Co. got off to a good start in the championship game and had the huge contingent of bulldog fans fired up as the started the game on a 7-2 run behind a Grant Kiser three and a bucket each from Robert and Timmy Dalton.
Johnson Central battled back and took a 13-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter it was all Bulldogs as they out scored the Golden Eagles 26-12 behind three pointers from Austin Chaffins and Brandon Richardson to seize control of the ballgame and lead 37-25 at halftime.
In the third quarter Johnson Central fought back behind the hot shooting of Mason Blair and pulled within 50-44 going to the fourth quarter.
In the final period Grant Kiser hit two “clutch corner” three pointers on back to back possessions to force JC to call timeout with 6:00 to go down 56-44.
From that point on the Dawgs matched the Golden Eagles basket for basket until Johnson Central started fouling and LC closed out the game at the foul line and sent the Bulldog fateful into a frenzy knowing they were headed to Rupp Arena.
Lawrence Co. placed all five starters in double figures in the win. Austin Chaffins had 19 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds, Timmy Dalton 18 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds and 4 steals, Grant Kiser 14 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists, Brandon Richardson 14 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists, Robert Dalton 10 points and 4 rebounds, Alex Gilliam 1 rebound and 1 assist, Tanner Black 1 rebound, and Darrin Maynard 1 rebound.
Lawrence Co. shot 47.9% ( 23-48 ) from the field, 42.9% ( 9-21) from behind the arc, 76.9% ( 20-26 ) from the free throw line.
Johnson Central was led by Mason Blair with 30 points, Cole Crace 13 points and Tyler Pack with 10 points.
Johnson Central shot 43.6% ( 24-55 ) from the field, 23.1% ( 6-26 ) from behind the arc, and 76.9% ( 10-13 ) from the foul line.
Timmy Dalton was named 15th Region Tournament MVP
Brandon Richardson, Grant Kiser, Austin Chaffins and Robert Dalton made all tournament team.
Lawrence Co. Head Coach Travis York
“… We are just floating on air right now, what a great feeling.”
…Johnson Central is a great team and program, Tommy McKenzie does a great job with them and they will be right here again next year.” I never really notice a crowd because I’m so focused but I did tonight when the doors opened and our section started to fill up it was a great crowd.” The last two years have been an absolute blur, always been a dream of mine to come back home and coach at Lawrence Co. And to coach the greatest team in school history is such a blessing.” I want to thank everyone that had a hand in coaching these great kids growing up, the community and administration for giving me a chance.” A lot of people will be celebrating this victory.”
Lawrence Co. Senior Austin Chaffins
” What an amazing feeling!”
Lawrence Co. Senior Grant Kiser
” …Feels great, always wanted to play in Rupp since we were little kids and now it is finally here.” My teammates got me open and I knocked down the shots and then my emotions took over its really hard to believe that we are headed to Rupp.” We have worked so hard for this the six seniors and all my teammates and now we are the 15th Region Champs.”
Lawrence Co. Senior Robert Dalton
“… Feels amazing, we finally did it after talking about it for fours years and coming so close last year we finally did it.” All we talked about is going to Rupp and now we are headed to the Sweet Sixteen.”
Lawrence Co. Senior Brandon Richardson
” …Feels amazing, we have worked so hard for this all of our lives.” Been together the last fours years and been so close but now we are headed to Rupp Arena.” Great teammates, fans and coaches”
Lawrence Co. Junior Timmy Dalton
” …Feels great, we made history first team from Lawrence Co. to play in Rupp Arena.” Been our goal from day one and it finally happened, so happy for our team, coaches and fans.” Johnson Central is a great program but it was our time.”
Lawrence Co. Senior Tanner Black
” …Can’t describe it, won’t sleep for week I was so happy to help my team and give them a lift tonight.” We are so close, we love each other and that makes this so much sweeter.”
Lawrence Co. Senior Josh Ratliff
” …Surreal man, can’t believe I’m going to play at Rupp with all my brothers.” Uncle Phil Ratliff is smiling down on us right now.” Media attention is great but the real thing is being humble and giving God all the glory.” We’re not done yet.”
Lawrence Co. Super Fan Larry Hartman
” …Couldn’t be prouder of these young men, I have watched them grow up.” It was our turn this year, have been so close the last few years and now they are headed to Rupp.” Johnson Central is a great program and they will be back.” Sweet Sixteen is a big stage but this team can handle it, I’m so happy for them.”